After all the hustle of the day, the sidewalk was finally left alone, although not untouched. Lots of glass fragments were scattered all over the place, as well as paper and some pens. Journalists weren’t really careful with their stuff. Like their cameramen, they just dropped things wherever it was convenient for them. And the sidewalk in front of the Oak Tree Hospital was not a place they would respect in any way. They didn’t care if the patients needed silence to sleep, they’d rather had their story.
And they did that day. After coming day after day, waiting for him to finally kick the bucket, the seventy-four year old man had finally passed away due to complications with the procedure he had gone through. It had been a very challenging adventure to fight where he knew he was already a loser. His mother and then sister before him had died exactly the same way, around the same age. So it wasn’t very surprising at all. That night, his body was sent to the cremator.
The next day, he was incinerated and his ashes kept on a small jar to be given to the only person that had been with him through the last few hours, his partner Eddy. They had been together in the industry for years and had formed a bond no one could match, especially not in the modern times when friendships and all sorts of relationships seem to be built on something very fragile, that could break at any moment. It wasn’t their case at all, because even then they felt the same towards each other.
They had never dared to be more than friends. They did agree on having to work together to fight the competition that plagued acting and all other forms of performance. Sydney, the one you had been cremated, had only been sixteen years old the day he arrived in the big city, looking for a chance to shine. Back then, the industry was only beginning. No major studios existed and the craft of cinema was thought to be a thing that would have only a couple of years in this Earth.
Sydney, however, had always seen the magic in the movies and was sure it was going to become the largest groups of performers and other artists to be known in the world. He began cleaning around and helping people getting coffee or whatever they needed at the moment. The directors took pity of him and let him attend some rehearsals and even some casting sessions. By the time he was an adult in the eyes of the law, he was a very knowledgeable man, with a great deal of respect for acting. That was what got him inside an acting school soon enough.
He met Eddy in one of his first productions. Eddy was an assistant of the director and Sydney had land a role as the son of the protagonists. It was a big deal to him because he had never acted before. He was so determined to be good, that he did his best with the little lines he had. It worked in its favor, as many others started hiring him for their pictures. It was mostly for the young brother or son parts, but he knew that was a way to climb to where he really wanted to be.
With Eddy, they shared their love for industry and their yearning for a time where they could be next to the biggest stars in the business. When there wasn’t any work, they would go out together and watch a movie and then walk around or have something to eat while they discussed said movie. They had fun like that and it was during those long and elaborate conversations when they probably noticed, for the first time, what was happening between them. They didn’t acknowledge it, though.
Sydney’s first big picture came in when he was twenty-five years old. He was offered the role of a young sailor who falls in love with a mermaid. It was one of those beautiful fantasy setting, with the grand costumes and the elaborate production design. The day filming started was the happiest day ever for him, as he had finally reached he point that he wanted in his career. And although the film was not the serious kind of thing he would like to dedicate himself to, it was a great way to begin.
It was so well received in the theaters by the general audience that he was signed on to reprise the role for two more movies. The studio proposed to him to raise his salary as well as given him many more accommodations and luxuries in exchange for him staying with them for the saga of movies they had planned. He accepted but with fear of never going back to the more serious movies that he had always longed of doing. Maybe, he thought, he could work something out.
There was the sequel of the mermaid movie, and then the other movie and then the next one. Suddenly, he had already signed on for five more, for a whole series with the character, and nothing had changed, not even the costumes and monsters he fought. It was Eddy who gave him the push he needed to demand more of the studio and of anyone working near or around him. He needed much more creativity if they wanted them to stay. That was how he put his foot down, in the hopes that could actually grow as an actor, instead of getting stuck forever in the same place.
After all the money he had won for them, the studio was not that reluctant to let him get closer to the creative process. It was a revolution: he was responsible for the firing of the screenwriting and the hiring of a new team of younger, more vivacious men like him. He worked for long weeks with them in order to create a new great story for his audience to love. Meanwhile, he was also eyeing some roles in other movies, more dramatic ones with potent stories and strong characters.
He signed on to a couple of those but then he realized he didn’t do as well with the dramatic stuff than with fantasy. Critics said that he was a bit too dry during his performances in the big movies he got to make. They didn’t say he was bad or anything, but what they always said only meant that his skills as an actor didn’t really show much during those grand romantic scenes he had tried so hard to do. It was something difficult to hear but he had to accept it, as it was a fact.
Sydney kept trying, though. With the help of his best friend Eddy, he would often get the kind of role he had dreamt of doing. But he did, he came short of having the reception that Captain Granger had in the theater. The Granger series were a huge hit among young people and their parents love the movies too because of its depiction of a true hero. The new team of writers had done a marvelous job making the character more realistic and daring. He was who kids wanted to be.
So he kept on doing those movies. He never stopped. During his career, he filmed maybe more than thirty movies as the character of Captain Granger. He made money and fame; people loved him and appreciated him. But they also questioned his life, as Sydney never married. He argued that the lack of time and the commitment to his craft were the ones to blame for him not having a big family. He did make some relations public, to appease the audiences and their thirst for gossip. But they were all lies.
All along the road, Eddy was there, helping and cheering him on. He was Sydney biggest fan and his best friend in the world. In their older days, they would still sit down and discuss the movies. When Sydney retired, they did it always, almost as a rite they had to go through everyday. And that was their relationship, one were one depended in the other and vice versa, to push him along the long line of life and resist the blows life launched against either of them. They never discussed their relationship further, and it wasn’t necessary because it had obviously been a great success.